Academic journal article German Quarterly

Witnessing, Memory, Poetics: H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Witnessing, Memory, Poetics: H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald

Article excerpt

Finch, Helen and Lynn L. Wollf, eds. Witnessing, Memory, Poetics: H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald. Rochester, NY : Camden House, 2014. x + 322 pp. $95.00 (hardcover).

"The new path to Adler seems to lead through Sebald," the editors of this volume contend in their introduction, "not only because of the way Sebald integrates Adler's Theresienstadt into his Austerlitz but also because ... Adler provides some answers to the questions Sebald so urgently poses: What is literature good for? How can memory of those to whom injustice has been done be preserved and honored?" (3). Indeed, on their account, Adler and Sebald, together, form "a new hybrid paradigm of writing about the Holocaust" (3,4). Historians might be less easily convinced than their literature colleagues of the contention that Adler was well nigh unknown prior to Sebald's intervention (interpreted by the editors as an idiosyncratic form of restitution), though it is certainly true that Adler's literary output fared infinitely less well than his historical and sociological work, especially his Theresienstadt, first published in 1955 (not least with financial assistance from Adorno). …

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